Thursday, February 20, 2020

CAPITAL SELF-DEFINED

The ability to be Self-defined is a superpower.

Please note the capitalization of that Self.

I grew up in a family where I was robbed of the privilege of learning what it is to be self-defined. As a result, a big piece of my personal evolution has been learning to be Self-defined. It has been a rough and rocky road.

Part of Part of a healthy maturation process includes detaching from parental or other authority figures and learning to think, decide, and define from a place of choice and autonomy. Though inextricably part of a tribal system we are each born to grow into a place internally where we decide what is right and what isn’t right for us as individuals. We are to take the programming that we have been taught and decide how that will or will not be causal to our experience as we become responsible adults. We get to choose what values we will live by, and what will govern our experience here in this embodiment.

Or at least that is optimal.

I grew up being taught that my opinions largely didn’t matter. I was defined by my family, church, culture, and by other outside forces. I did not have ultimate authority over my experience. That included my mind, heart, and body.

I was largely up for grabs.

I was never taught healthy boundaries. When living in a monarchy there is no need for boundaries. Not being free to think for myself there was always an inner tension between what I felt deep down was true for me, and what I was permitted to express and live out.

I was not granted the right to develop my own sense of self.

A huge part of my spiritual development was first and foremost learning that this was the case. When you are not privy to self-choice and development it is hard to come to self-realization.

After many painful lessons in relinquishing my right to choose, my adult experience has been about first learning that I have a right to choose and a right to determine my own sense of self. I have a right to make my own decisions. I have not only a right but a responsibility to be self-determining. I set my boundaries, and I keep and maintain them.

Learning this was fraught with mistakes and much emotional turmoil.

One of the key mistakes I learned to recognize was that often when I told people I loved them they thought that gave them the right to define me.

Ouch.

This resulted in painful isolation and prolonged disconnection. I often wanted to scream out “love me, don’t try and define me!”

Of course, the inability to define my own experience had me swallowing those screams. They festered and metastasized inside of me, hardening into a fortress where I could safe albeit alone.

After beginning to learn that I didn’t believe I had a right to my own self I also began to discover how that limited and limiting sense of self was faulty from a broader spiritual perspective. I began slowly and painfully to discover the distinction between the personality self and the Soulful Self. While my personality self had been programmed to believe it was faulty, unworthy, dis-empowered, and fragile I began to open to an awakened perspective that could relate to those core beliefs. That relating tuned me into what I would term my Soul. My Soul has endless creativity, authority, choice, volition, and Self-definition.

Please note the capitalization of that Self.

I began to make more and more choices from my Soul. I set and maintained healthy boundaries and decided what was and what wasn’t right for me. I became less reactive to people that sought to define me, and freer to choose from an expanded sense of me. I set the rules for my governance. I relied on Source for my sense of Self and allowed myself to be guided by that. I even today instantly recognize when someone is seeking to define or manipulate me. I rarely go into emotional reaction. I simply state what is right for me and walk away if my word is not honored.

Part of the rub of Self-definition is that it requires that I take full responsibility for the choices and decisions I make. Though I have a right to choose I do not then have a right to blame others for my choices. I could have spent my entire life blaming those who robbed me of choice. I have not. I recognize it as a vital part of my evolution in consciousness. That evolution includes releasing the allure of blame now. I am the grown up in here. I am responsible. I get to choose to show up in empowered and self-differentiated ways. You may think you can define me. I do not have to react and live from that definition.

The ability to be Self-defined is indeed a superpower.

Please note the capitalization of that Self.

I slip up. I admit it. Part of our inherent connection is the ability to hurt each other. I mistakenly define others, and others mistakenly define me. I do not reside long in those mistaken identities. I feel the contraction of my self from my Self. The pain of that contraction awakens me. I come back to Self-definition. I make conscious and responsible choices. I allow the Self to govern the self.

Please not the capitalization of that Self.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

REALLY GONE

I guess sometimes when they leave, they are really gone.

My mother left her body four years ago today. That is 1460 days. Not one of those days has passed that I have not thought of and felt her absence.

When my mother left, she was gone.

I have experienced the deaths of many significant people in my lifetime. It began at a young age and has been a constancy that I have learned to live with. I have become increasingly friendly with grief as a result of these many losses. I have also become increasingly comfortable with the ongoing vibrational relationship with those who have moved on. I cherish the ongoing “visitations” with people who are no longer on this plane of experience. Those visitations are not replacements for the much-preferred physical encounters. The “in-spirit” encounters are lovely, but they do little to soften the longing to hear the voice and touch the hands of those I have shared incarnation with.

There have been no visitations or encounters with my mother.

I spent a week with her in an Ohio ICU where she was cognizant but, on a ventilator, so unable to speak. I needed to return to my work here in Florida so was not present when she transitioned a week later. I energetically felt her transition these many miles away, and that was the last I felt of her presence.

Since she left she has really been gone.

And so, the void that was left by her passing has truly been a void. No wafts of her energy. No cardinal birds that signaled her attending. No feelings of her at any time or in any way.

She was a unique and complicated woman. I guess it should not surprise me that the wake of her passing is equally unique and for me complicated.

I sought my entire life to get her attention. Most especially her approving and affirmative attention.

There were glimpses.

Brief, fleeting glimpses.

And now I guess in some ways I am spending her death still seeking her attention. Even if it is from an entirely different realm.

Four years. 208 weeks. 1460 days.

Life has moved on as it always does. Much has occurred. I have been fully engaged in my living, loving, and serving.

There is a subtle and ever-present void that I still somehow expect to be filled. A void that I still hope will be filled. Not as a replacement. Not as a 24-7 reality. Just a moment. A waft. A glimpse, a sense, a nudge.

Wherever she is she is not with me.

And so, well meaning people assure me she is always with me.

Actually, she is not.

Oh, she is with me in countless memories. She is increasingly with me as I look into the mirror. She is mimicked for me in the way I do so many things. Her tone is heard in the way I say certain phrases. Her emotional character is often felt in my own inner atmosphere. So, in those ways she is here.

It is not the same.

Some readers may get that, and certainly some will not. It doesn’t matter. This is my feeble attempt to put into words what is clearly ineffable and wordless.

Maybe I am somehow hoping the words will fill the aching void.

In many ways my mother and I were enmeshed. No matter how many miles separated us I could always tap in and feel what she was feeling. In later years I grew beyond the need to make things better for her when she was troubled. I never really could achieve that, and I suffered as a result of trying. So, when she passed on my intense grief was also met by an inexplicable freedom.

For the first time I was an independent energy system having an independent experience of me.

And maybe that is why she has left me on my own.

I guess sometimes when they leave, they are really gone.

And perhaps that is her final gift to me.

There was always a level at which I felt I was meant to mother her as much as she was meant to give birth to me. I continue to grow more accepting and peaceful with that. I will perhaps always live with a subtle longing to feel her approving attention. To feel something more than a void. To feel she somehow chose to linger with me.

For now, she is gone. Really gone.

And for now, I am here. Really here. Holding all of this in my heart.

Whether she is here or not, I will always be my mother’s son.

And in that way, and for now only in that way, she will always be with me.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

LOOKING AT

I am always looking at what I am looking with.

I heard that phrase for the first-time decades ago. After pondering it for months I thought I knew what it meant. After grappling with it for years I realized I did not know what it meant. And all these decades later I still dance with what I suspect is one of the most confounding and yet liberating notions that I have ever heard.

I am always looking at what I am looking with.

We as human beings are emotionally imprinted and carefully programmed and conditioned. We are not responsible for these imprints or filters.

We are, however, responsible TO them.

Human consciousness evolves via the way we relate to our imprinting, programming, conditioning. We are here, in part, to transcend the limitations of our tribal paradigms. We do not do this by getting rid of them. We do this by relating differently to them. We do this be awakening to the fact that these early imprints and programs are running the show we call me. We live largely on the autopilot of reaction until the pain of this reactivity begins to shake us and awaken us.

I am always looking at what I am looking with.

What we generally call reality is really a filter we are looking through. There is a constant commentary, narrative going on as we mentally label and assess whatever we are looking at. A process of constant evaluation is always going on. We look at, we evaluate, and then our emotional body mirrors the felt-equivalent of that evaluation.

This is not a problem.

The problem lies in that we believe our evaluations.

The problem and the suffering lie in that we forget that we are always looking at what we are looking with.

In speaking for myself I am dedicated to awakening to the fact that I am the one narrating my experience. I am the one responsible for my inner atmosphere and experience. I am the one that decides to momently awaken to the power of interpretation and to the subsequent contribution I am always making.

There are many things I find disturbing about our culture, our country, our world, and the way in which human beings treat each other. I feel the equivalent of value-violation daily. I know that I could choose to scream at those current appearances and spend much of my days in angry reactivity. And I know that I would be contributing to the problems I find disturbing.

I am always looking at what I am looking with.

Though each of us are carefully imprinted, programmed, and conditioned we are also beings of free will and choice. This is so by virtue of our creation. As we awaken and evolve choice becomes more and more available. Automatic reactivity softens as the neo-brain slowly takes authority over the lizard. We begin to find that there is always something greater than the tribal paradigm. There is something transcendent of the old programming. There is a Power within us all that can use the disturbance rather than being used by it.

I am always looking at what I am looking with.

The lizard part of us is always on the lookout for what is wrong. For what is threatening. For what insults or diminishes the me. It is always seeking an enemy, always poised in fight or flight.

The invitation of an awakened consciousness is to internally dwell in a place that is aware and accepting of this circuitry yet is also choosing to wakefully relate to inner-reacting and unconscious acting out. An awakened consciousness responds rather than reacts. It is open and available to transmute the triggers. To bring presence to the programming. To contain the conditioning.

This is possible once we realize that we ARE what is looking, not what we are looking at.

When I am awake to what is looking, I gaze in compassionate response.

When I am awake to what is looking, I am aware that everything I am seeing is an out picturing of individual and collective consciousness. It is all artifact of critical mass core belief. Though often tragic in its effects it is still potential awaiting activation.

And that is where I come in.

I am always looking at what I am looking with.

The way I choose to look at what I am seeing either perpetuates of transforms that which I am seeing. If I choose to look at and react to things as fixed realities to be believed and conquered, I relegate my power to the externals. If I choose to look out from a place of contemplation and compassion that way of seeing has a transformative effect on what I am looking at.

When I am unconscious, I am in reaction. When I am conscious, I am in response.

The choice is up to me.

How I see what I see isn’t about it. It is about me.

For you see, I am always looking at what I am looking with.